Pandemics and parcels: lockdown’s lasting impact on deliveries17 July 2020
Only in recent weeks has the UK taken its most substantial strides towards a post-lockdown landscape, but many retailers and delivery firms have been working away in the background to capitalise on quick wins and new consumer trends.
The shift from high streets to online shopping was already moving at an alarming rate, but the pandemic may have ruled out any chance of a significant reverse – before lockdown, online orders accounted for 43 per cent of all shopping in the UK, but that share has since jumped to 62 per cent.
Here, Leasing Options look at the emerging patterns with both consumer goods and how they get to you.
People and property
Despite reports of record unemployment, the delivery industry is going the opposite way. The stay-at-home guidance has led to a boom in online orders and couriers have been quick to react.
Hermes UK is kicking on with its plans to open Europe’s largest distribution facility in Barnsley, investing over £60m in a centre that could through 1.3 million shipments every day.
Likewise, DPD is pumping £200m into its next-day delivery infrastructure, with an additional 6,000 staff and 15 regional depots – up from the 10 that were originally planned this year. The firm has also acquired a former DHL warehouse in Leeds to support the surge in demand.
Fleet and logistics
The spend-more-make-more approach isn’t just evident in recruitment and portfolios, however. Only last month, global player DHL announced a new cargo route between Hong Kong and the UK that will ship medical, industrial and consumer goods by air.
Closer to home, Royal Mail is trialling electric delivery vans to meet customer demands and also reduce its environmental impact. It joins Hermes UK, whose entire London fleet is electric, in emissions-free deliveries.
That trend is mirrored across the Atlantic, too – Amazon announced in 2019 that it will have 100,000 all-electric vans on the roads by 2024.
Food and drink
But it’s not just the delivery firms that are cashing in on current consumer trends; more and more, we’re seeing supermarkets, restaurants and even breweries come up with their own solutions to get their goods to customers.
Online supermarket Ocado is seeking £1bn from its investors to help address the increased demand, while seafood supplier Marrfish announced it’s now delivering freshly caught and prepared produce across the UK.
On the booze front, Asahi UK has launched Beer Pronto, an online shop offering next-day delivery on Asahi, Peroni and other brands. BrewDog, the Scottish brewery that’s produced over 100,000 units of hand sanitiser through the lockdown, has also announced it is opening Beer Drive-Thrus and even considering drone deliveries in the UK.
And the couriers are now doing more than just drop it on your doorstep; UPS has teamed with parcel experts and distributors to create packaging for spirits and wine, while Deliveroo are supporting sit-in dining and allowing customers to maintain social distancing and order through the app. They’re also expected to start offering a tipping function, to further support the hospitality sector’s recovery.
The substantial investment in these areas suggests many companies expect the trends to last. Only time will tell, but the Beer Drive-Thru sounds like something we can get on board with!
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